It’s been six months, more or less, since the political establishment took one on the jaw and lost the Lisbon treaty.
Since then, we’ve had the pretence of an all-party Dáil committee considering where to go next, and a few surreal moments as some of the more eccentric opponents of the EU showed up to enlighten the TDs on their opinions.
And after all that, what is the committee’s conclusion?
‘No legal obstacle appears to exist to having a referendum either on the same issue… or some variation thereof.’
Hands up who thought there was a legal problem with a second referendum?
Cowen’s problem isn’t legal. There was only ever going to be one reaction to the referendum result. Vote again.
Fianna Fáil knew that. Fine Gael knew that. And however much No advocates might shout that the people have spoken, they knew it too.
The problem for the Yes side is, they’ve blown their credit. No one is in a mood to listen to the government that introduced the harshest budget in two decades, so instead we get a combination of dire predictions if the treaty is lost and attacks on Libertas funding.
Expect the campaign to go negative.